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Parents' Guide to

Empire Records

By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

'90s cult comedy-drama has sex/drug references, language.

Movie PG-13 1996 90 minutes
Empire Records Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 13+

What you thought adulthood was like when you were 13

This film hits the right notes. I want to hang out with all of these people over the course of a day. Although the film does not scrape the surface of the conundrum of the chain music stores versus the local music store to offer better details why this is a big issue I still appreciate that there scale new ground or offer insight that is revelatory or earth shattering it is still a film that reminds me of the promise of the mid-90s. This is how I day dreamed I would be in my early 20s when I was a young teenager. That coupled with the soundtrack and it is irresistible.
1 person found this helpful.
age 15+

Inappropriate content for younger viewers but fun

Includes inappropriate content and cringe-worthy moments, but it's also a fun movie about second chances with great music. Whether to watch or not depends on the family. My 13-year-old is very responsible, and I'd rather watch uncomfortable topics with her so we can talk about it. I'm sure they find worse on YouTube when we're not looking. We enjoy the movie overall and wish it had more diversity. If you prefer to avoid or postpone exposure to topics including teen sex, suicidal thoughts, and addiction, don't watch this.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (1 ):

A box office flop that became a much-loved cult hit, the movie's flaws are the very things that have endeared it to fans over the years. Empire Records' scrappy plot, characters that ping-pong off each other without much time for development, and a soundtrack that bombards the audience whenever it roars into life all help create a strong sense of place filled with the type of people everyone's met and, more to the point, are fun to hang out with. Among its ensemble cast is Liv Tyler in an early role as Corey, whose personal problems form one of the discussions of mental health that weave their way through the dialogue alongside 90s slacker movie tropes, such as record store employees arguing about the merits of vinyl over CDs.

The record store setting now makes for an iconic, time capsule backdrop, giving the movie a strong aesthetic that was simply everyday life upon its release. More acclaimed and better crafted 90s youth culture movies may exist, but Empire Records' talented cast and sheer warmth of spirit means that it should continue to endure for years to come.

Movie Details

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